Tag Archives: fire

Prejudiced Tories are unfairly denying benefits to people whose relatives die of Covid-19

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Sanction centre: it isn’t a sanction as such, but anyone receiving compensation for the death of a relative due to Covid-19 will be automatically denied state benefits.

Doesn’t this show how sly, sneaky and underhanded Boris Johnson and his Tory friends are?

If any low-paid frontline NHS and social care workers die of Covid-19, their relatives are entitled to claim a £60,000 lump sum under a Tory compensation scheme.

But if they are already claiming benefits and they do this, they will lose their entitlement to those benefits, meaning they could not claim Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.

Some of you might think that’s fair; £60,000 is a lot of money, after all.

But this is at a time when Boris Johnson has been dishing out huge sums – £563,400 to consulting firm McKinsey for ‘advice’ that is likely to see the new National Institute for Health Protection sink without a trace, £150 million on face masks that can’t be used, an unspecified amount to Public First for the ‘A’ level results fiasco. Why should benefit claimants lose out when these fat Tories are making such a killing?

Perhaps more to the point, other compensation schemes such as those for the Windrush scandal and the Grenfell Tower fire do not affect entitlement to state benefits. Why should this be different?

The Tories have no answer to this question. Their spokesman is quoted as saying, “It has always been one the central principles of Universal Credit that decisions on awarding the benefit should take into account individuals’ existing ability to meet their basic needs, so that we maintain our focus on supporting families in most need.”

But the Windrush and Grenfell schemes are exempt from being taken into account.

It seems the Tories have created a hierarchy of merit – and relatives of Covid-19 victims have been ruled undeserving, even while ministers’ cronies are mopping up the last coppers from the Treasury that Johnson has emptied.

Source: UK families bereaved by Covid-19 lose eligibility for welfare benefits | Universal credit | The Guardian

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Starmer’s inaction over ‘Israeli billionaire’ tweet shows HE’S wrong, not Steve Reed

Clueless again: Starmer’s hypocrisy in sacking one shadow minister but not another, for the same false accusation, shows his hypocrisy – and also confirms to all of us that he was using anti-Semitism as an excuse to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey.

This is a bit of a tangled web.

Keir Starmer has been criticised for failing to take action against his shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, Steve Reed, over two tweets which have been said to be anti-Semitic.

One suggested that property developer and former porn baron Richard Desmond, who is Jewish (who knew?) is “the puppet master for the entire Tory cabinet”.

The other was a retweet of an article referring to an “Israeli billionaire” influencing Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Neither of these tweets are anti-Semitic in any way.

One presumes those making that suggestion about the first are referring to the anti-Semitic trope of Jewish conspiracies running the world – but there’s no implication that Desmond is representing the entire Jewish ethnicity in his behaviour; it doesn’t even mention his ethnicity.

As for the other – try replacing “Israeli” with, I don’t know… “Australian”. Would it be racist against Australians to say that one of them was influencing Jenrick? Of course not. And an Israeli isn’t necessarily Jewish so, again, anti-Semitism cannot be rightl applied.

However:

It is only a matter of days since Starmer sacked now-former shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey under the pretext that she had retweeted a link to an interview with actor Maxine Peake containing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

It didn’t – the claim has subsequently been proved accurate – but the damage was done and RLB is out.

The issue with Starmer is hypocrisy. Neither of his shadow ministers did anything anti-Semitic, both were accused, but only one lost their job.

The issue has made the Labour leader’s position even less credible than it was before; this guy just doesn’t have a clue, and has turned Labour’s position on racism into nonsense.

He has to go. It’s only a matter of time until he does.

Source: Breaking: Starmer tells Reed ‘no action’ re Reed’s ‘puppet master’ and ‘Israeli billionaire’ tweets – as Reed deletes tweet praising action vs Long-Bailey. Excuse for inaction implodes immediately – SKWAWKBOX

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Coronavirus: homeless families moved into unsafe buildings. What good will THAT do?

Unsafe: these tower blocks on the Ledbury estate, Southwark, are in danger of fire or collapse – and the council has put 60 homeless families into empty flats there.

What’s the thinking behind this? If the disease doesn’t get them, the building might collapse on them instead?

Southwark Council (Labour-run, God help them) has moved homeless families into an estate of tower blocks that require major works to make them safe from fire or collapse.

The four towers on the Ledbury estate have many empty flats because they are unsafe.

They were built using the ‘large panel system’ construction method, which became notorious after the partial collapse of Ronan Point in Newham in the 1960s.

That’s more than 50 years ago! Why was nothing done about these buildings decades ago?

Families who were living in temporary accommodation with shared bathrooms and kitchens are being moved into 60 empty flats in the towers, to allow them to self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak.

Southwark reckons it has agreed “extra safety measures” with the fire service in order to ensure the flats are safe to occupy.

What’s the last time we heard of a council making arrangements with a fire service about the safety of a tower block? Ah yes: Grenfell Tower.

What can possibly go wrong?

Source: Inside Housing – News – Homeless families to be moved into blocks with systemic safety issues amid coronavirus crisis

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Bolton cladding fire suggests Conservatives did NOTHING after Grenfell – other than blame firefighters

Tory response: This satirical image from Twitter reflects the public opinion of blame-shifting Tories.

Wasn’t there a warning that Grenfell Tower could happen all over again, if flammable cladding was not removed from the many other buildings across the UK that had it?

I think there was.

And were the residents at the Cube, student accommodation in Bolton assured that the cladding on that building was not the same as that used on Grenfell Tower?

I think they were:

Then, last night (November 15), this happened:

It seems clear that the cladding on the building was spreading the fire. And look at the way it was dripping, molten, to the ground outside:

According to Skwawkbox, “BBC now stressing the cladding in the #BoltonFire wasn’t the same flammable cladding used on Grenfell Tower. Just some other flammable cladding, so that’s ok then…”

But The Guardian has more useful information: “Students at the Cube had been visited by fire safety officers following the Grenfell Tower fire and assured that the building was not clad in the same material, the Bolton News reported.

“However, the planned cladding materials on one part of the facade included aluminium composite panels (ACM) or fibre cement panels, and high pressure laminated panels (HPL) fixed to timber battens on another, according to drawings submitted by RADM Architects to Bolton’s planning department in 2014. It is not yet clear which of these materials were used.

“ACM panels are filled with polyethylene, which, as at Grenfell, can be highly combustible or can contain a fire retardant to make them safer. HPL panels, made of compressed paper or wood fibre, also come with different combustibility ratings.”

It is all very well saying the cladding wasn’t the same as in Grenfell – but if it is still inflammable, then the students were in danger. They had a right to know this but it seems they weren’t told.

In this context, it is a miracle that only two people were injured.

And that miracle allows us to examine the political aspect of this – which is disastrous for the Conservatives.

Boris Johnson’s party had more than two years to clear flammable cladding from all the buildings in the UK that were in danger. They didn’t.

Why not? Was it expensive?

In the light of their current splurge-spending plans, offered in a desperate bid to bribe the electorate away from Labour’s better, costed plans to revitalise the nation, that would be an insult of possibly criminal dimensions.

And it is clear that the failure to take action constitutes a danger to the lives of the many thousands of people living in cladded tower blocks across the UK.

Those people should consider this very carefully when placing their vote in the general election.

Labour’s John Healey has said: “If … reports are right that the cladding has contributed to this fire, then the Government has serious questions to answer.

“As figures released this week show, two and a half years after the Grenfell Tower fire, thousands of tower block residents are still living in homes with deadly cladding. This should shame the Conservatives and they must now act to make all buildings safe.”

You can take that as a promise that a Labour government will take such action.

This Writer would like an inquiry into the issue of cladding, and the companies that have been responsible for it. Is it all flammable? Or is some of it safe? And can those responsible for covering buildings with life-endangering material be prosecuted for it?

Shouldn’t those in the Tory government who didn’t have it removed be prosecuted, also?

It is certain that the principle of collective responsibility applies – everybody in the Conservative government must take the responsibility for allowing this danger to continue.

And everybody living in a cladded building should take responsibility for ending that danger – by voting the Conservatives out.

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Rees-Mogg’s ‘common sense’ claims turn the heat on the Tories [STRONG LANGUAGE]

Jacob Rees-Mogg: The way he looks in this image reminds me of somebody else…

Jacob Rees-Mogg tried to talk about ‘common sense’ in an LBC radio interview about the Grenfell Tower fire – proving he doesn’t have any of his own.

He said residents of the tower, which was consumed by fire due to having been covered with inflammable cladding by a Conservative-run council, should have used their common sense and left the building, rather than follow the ‘stay put’ policy imposed by the same Conservative-run council.

His comments led to condemnation, including this from rapper Stormzy:

https://twitter.com/stormzy/status/1191727557349130241

(Apologies for the weird state of the video.)

Stormzy continued:

https://twitter.com/stormzy/status/1191739324901076993

Comedian Russell Howard also attacked Mr Rees-Mogg, delivering Bristol’s verdict on the representative for neighbouring North East Somerset:

Mr Rees-Mogg has apologised for his words, even though it is clear that they represented his thinking on the subject, and has been keeping a low profile since. Conservatives have tried to defend Mr Rees-Mogg – but feebly:

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen made matters even worse by saying Mr Rees-Mogg was “cleverer” than the Grenfell residents who died.

He has been forced to apologise too:

And the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg predictably tried to protect the Tory by pretending he had made a mistake – and got her own roasting for it:

I understand the company that put the flammable cladding on Grenfell Tower is still listed by the Conservatives as a “trusted” supplier. What’s that about?

And how can anybody vote for a party that knowingly not only puts citizens at risk, but causes their deaths?

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Vox Political proved right again as London Fire Brigade scapegoated for Grenfell fire

Inferno: The Grenfell Tower blaze caused the greatest single loss of life in London since World War II, with official figures showing 72 people lost their lives.

This should make your blood boil.

After their heroism on the night of the Grenfell Tower inferno, it seems the London Fire Brigade is being blamed for the loss of 72 lives as a result of the blaze.

This Site predicted as much in September, when LFB members were interviewed under caution by police over potential health and safety breaches to do with the policy to tell people to stay in their flats while the fire raged outside.

Now retired high court judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who led the inquiry, has said many lives could have been saved if her officers had identified sooner that the fire was out of control and told residents to evacuate.

But isn’t it true that the “stay put” policy had been imposed by landlords the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) and was standard policy for a high-rise building in the United Kingdom?

He found that the LFB failed to train its incident commanders and firefighters in how to recognise the need for evacuation or in the dangers of combustible cladding.

But he also said there was “compelling evidence that the external walls of the building failed to comply with requirements” of building regulations governing fire safety. They didn’t adequately resist the spread of fire – “on the contrary they actively promoted it”.

And his conclusion that “the principal reason why the flames spread so rapidly up the building” was its aluminium composite panels and the “melting and dripping of burning polyethylene” was contrary to the evidence of cladding panel manufacturer Arconic.

This suggests that, even though senior officers had been briefed on the risk of cladding fires from high-rise blazes abroad, they had no reason to believe that Grenfell might fall prey to such an event.

So the LFB had no way of knowing that Grenfell would suffer such a cladding fire and in any case it was bound by a policy imposed by the tower’s landlord.

And we are expected to accept that the LFB deserves the blame for it. What a travesty.

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Is this an attempt to scapegoat the London Fire Brigade for the Grenfell disaster?

Ruin: Firefighters risked their lives in Grenfell Tower – not just while the building was burning but afterwards, as they searched among the rubble for residents.

This seems extremely sinister.

We know that the Grenfell Tower disaster was caused by a faulty kitchen appliance.

It was then accelerated by the fact that the tower had no sprinkler system because landlords working for Kensington and Chelsea Council did not consider it necessary.

And of course the same landlords had installed “fire resistant” cladding that instead hugely worsened the blaze.

Right?

But no real action has been taken against either the landlord organisation or the council.

And now the fire brigade that handled the blaze has been interviewed under caution by police over potential health and safety breaches to do with the policy to tell people to stay in their flats while the fire raged outside.

But the “stay put” policy had been imposed by landlords the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) and was standard policy for a high-rise building in the United Kingdom. 

It relies on the assumption that construction standards such as concrete and fire-resistant doors will allow firefighters to contain a fire within one flat – which was impossible in Grenfell Tower, which was not built to a standard that made this possible.

It seems clear that firefighters followed nationwide guidelines that were understood to be the best course at the time, and changed their plans when they realised that these guidelines had proved ineffective.

Blame for this ineffectiveness must fall on builders who used substandard materials, the landlord who decided that the proper materials and safety methods were not necessary, the council that employed that landlord, and the Tory government that relaxed safety requirements – making it possible for actions that endangered residents to happen.

I remember the eyewitness accounts of firefighters coming out of that inferno. It was clear that not only had they done everything they could to get as many people as possible out of danger; they had put themselves in considerable danger to do so.

But now it seems attempts are being made to blame them.

Who ordered this investigation into the Fire Service? What was their motivation for doing so?

And shouldn’t they be made to feel ashamed?

London Fire Brigade officials have been interviewed under caution by police investigating the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Scotland Yard detectives questioned the body over its duty to protect the public and its own employees from health and safety risks.

Source: Grenfell Tower fire: London Fire Brigade officials interviewed under caution by police over disaster | The Independent

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Barking fire blamed on cladding – and safety fears were downplayed. Grenfell Mk 2?

The conflagration in De Pass Gardens, Barking, was due to cladding breaking fire while safety concerns were ignored, it seems.

According to the Guardian‘s report (link below), it is believed the fire spread after someone lit a barbecue on a balcony.

The flames reached the wooden cladding that covered the building and, despite claims that it was flame-retardant and perfectly safe, spread across the whole building rapidly.

Apparently the sprinkler system did not work.

Concerns had been raised about possible fire safety problems in early May, after the BBC’s Watchdog programme had highlighted fire safety problems at a development by the same builder – Bellway Homes – in Scotland.

An email from Bellway Homes said the construction method in Barking was different and therefore the De Pass Gardens development would not be affected the same way.

But the company had hired a fire safety warden to patrol the building in order to address unspecified concerns.

It all seems highly reminiscent of the Grenfell Tower fire of almost exactly two years ago.

On June 14, 2017, fire ripped through the allegedly-flameproof cladding on Grenfell Tower, despite residents having been assured that it was safe. There was no sprinkler system.

That blaze killed 72 people.

The Conservative government of the day – almost exactly the same administration as the current Conservative government – promised that lessons would be learned (the old mantra) but here we are again.

It seems clear that building regulations are not robust enough to ensure the safety of tower block residents, their homes and their possessions.

I recall another Conservative government – that of David Cameron – promising a “bonfire of red tape”, scrapping regulaations on the basis that they were not necessary.

Is this the reason the people of Barking were endangered yesterday, their homes and possessions destroyed? If so, who will face prosecution for the threat against the residents’ lives?

Source: Barking fire: residents claim safety fears about flats were downplayed | UK news | The Guardian

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Huge fire in NEWLY-BUILT block of flats. Is this how the Tory government learned the lessons of Grenfell?

As I type these words, around 100 firefighters are battling a blaze in a tower block on De Pass Gardens, Barking, in London.

The cause is not known. There are no known injuries, and evacuation procedures are in place.

But there is no avoiding the obvious question: Why has this happened after the Tory government promised to learn the lessons of Grenfell?

Look at the strength of this fire, as shown in the following footage:

And did you read the comment about the cladding? Builders had been challenge about it only weeks ago, and said it was “fire retardant and perfectly safe”.

Does it look safe to you?

Sadly, it seems to be exactly the same stupidity as at Grenfell.

I’m sure you and I will look forward to the mealy-mouthed excuses that will flow from the same sources we heard after Grenfell. I hope there will be much less tolerance for them this time.

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This is the vile hate crime that your Conservative government encourages

Read the following comment, received in response to This Site’s article about the homeless man who was attacked and set alight in Coventry last weekend:

“Tonight the caravan belonging to a homeless friend of mine was set on fire in Rotherhithe, London. I don’t know if he was in it at the time, he usually comes here if it’s too cold or needs a shower.

“The thing is that this man was trying to provide himself with the essentials of life. Before moving to this caravan he lived in a coach on a motorway layby. That was also set on fire.

“He recently started a job working for a housing association and was possibly going to be promoted. Now that he will have no money, possessions or clothes he is likely to go into a depression and use drugs as a respite from reality and lose his job.

“Southwark council does not give single white men who are homeless an interview with a housing officer. They won’t even make it into the building in Bournemouth Road and will be assaulted if they try.

“So this man who has probably been judged as a scrounger and a lowlife but in fact has never applied for benefits, wanted to work and was just about to recover from a period of misfortune without the hindrance of dealing with Jobcentres or the Department of Worthless Prats (who deserve to be the target of hatred rather than their victims) will have suffered more injustice in the last few years than most people can imagine has to start again as if he has been dropped on the earth naked, no ID, no passport, no money, nothing.

“That is if he’s still alive.”

That is what nearly nine years of Conservative-led government has done to the United Kingdom. It has turned us against each other so much that thugs are roaming our cities setting people on fire. There aren’t enough police to stop them and the Tories are egging them on.

The Tories are egging them on.


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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